Behind much of the lobbying group’s heft are two tectonic shifts in American politics: conservative activists’ growing distrust of GOP leaders and the technological innovations that allow well-organized groups and individual politicians to connect directly with pockets of supporters and donors.
“Influence is being dispersed,” said Heritage Action Chief Executive Mike Needham. “The reason we’re controversial is that people don’t like change.”
Asked about the so-called farm bill, Rep. Roe acknowledged he “thought the farm bill was about farming; it turns out its really not.” He explained “for the first time, we’re going to separate the farm bill” from the food stamp spending.
Without being prompted, he outlined the strategy: “We’ll take the farm bill and the food stamp bill and separate those two. Vote both of those and send them to the Senate. And then it’ll come back as one bill in a conference and we’ll hopefully get something…”
(jump to 2:30 for most relevant comments)
(Note: Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) used a procedure known as “filling the tree” to ensure no more amendments could be offered to this massive amendment, which like the original Gang of Eight plan was drafted behind closed doors.)
The short time frame stands in stark contrast to Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) repeated pledge for an open and transparent process. On June 11, Sen. Rubio boasted, “Since the bill was introduced two months ago, the open and transparent process it has undergone has elicited constructive criticisms to improve it.”
Sen. Rubio’s colleagues will not have the same opportunity to evaluate the newest 1,190-page version of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) amnesty plan.
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|Nathanael Yellis||Red Sox||Nationals|
Hope springs eternal at Heritage Action, but we also believe in accountability, so we’ll revisit these predictions in October.
Rep. Tom Cole has firmly staked out a position as a foil to conservative hard-liners in the GOP conference, using the media’s megaphone to push back against Republicans who want to hold a firmer line in spending battles with President Barack Obama.
In recent weeks, he’s compared the GOP’s right flank to the drunk uncle of a dysfunctional family, suggested Republican critics of the Violence Against Women Act were racist, and singed the tactics of Speaker John A. Boehner’s detractors as “amateur night at the Bijou.”
Still, Cole’s recent moves have earned him some enmity on the right, with one GOP lawmaker privately calling him a “joke,” and his closeness to GOP leadership has prompted questions about whether Cole is speaking as a conduit on behalf of Ohio’s Boehner.
“As House GOP leaders push for unity on all fronts, moderates within the party appear exempt. Rarely are they called to the carpet for creating fissures within the party or initiating a circular firing squad,” said Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action for America, a conservative outside group.